Life in New Jersey has been significantly better since I identified a few coffee shops that I like working from. There's a Starbucks less than a mile from my apartment, but I quickly learned that it was in no position to become a favorite of mine. It's small & cramped, & only two of the tables are near electrical outlets. Worse, it's practically next door to a high school, so come 2:30, it's swarming with chatty, squealing teenagers who do asinine things like FaceTime their absent friends into very loud public hangouts. So no, thanks.
There's a Starbucks five miles down the road that I like a lot more. Friendlier baristas, bigger space, more outlets, zero hoards of kids - now that's what I call a work space! What I like even more is the cafe I discovered just a couple of blocks from my apartment - entirely walkable with the world's friendliest staff. And they play a radio stations with American music & Danish commercials. Quirky!
The staff is equal parts hipster 20somethings & middle-aged Scandinavian men, all quite nice, & I've already identified a few regulars, people who spend multiple hours there on their laptops like me. I'm determined to befriend a couple of them, though I'm not sure how to accomplish this. "Hey, can you keep an eye on my stuff while I run to the restroom?" does not a friendship make.
Earlier this week, just hours after I tweeted my friend-making intentions, I had a run-in with a dude who, thankfully, I've not seen there before today. He sat down just as I was packing up to leave, talking very quietly & making some hand gestures that I assumed meant he was asking me whether there were outlets nearby for him to plug in his computer. I pointed him toward them as I got up to leave, which was when he got slightly too close & whisper-talked, in a smooth voice with a thick accent, "Take me out for café, you are amazing"& slipped me a tiny piece of paper with numbers on it. And then I mumbled, "I have a boyfriend, sorry" & almost literally ran away.
If that's what I get for wanting friends, I think I'll stick to the loner life.